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'The Witcher' season 2 review: Netflix's epic fantasy series is back with a superior and more intense season

Still from The Witcher season 2 (Image via Youtube/ Netflix)
Still from The Witcher season 2 (Image via Youtube/ Netflix)

Henry Cavill-starrer The Witcher, a fantasy drama series created by Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, is back with a second season. Season 2 was released on December 17, 2021, on Netflix and has already been touted as bigger and much better compared to the first season.

Based on the book series by the same name by Andrzej Sapkowski, The Witcher is set on a fictional, medieval-inspired landmass known as "The Continent". While the show features an ensemble cast, the second season's focus remains mostly on Geralt, played by Henry Cavill, Cirilla, played by Freya Allan, and Yennefer, played by Anya Chalotra.

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Season 2 of The Witcher combines plots from the first novel in the book series called Blood of Elves, as well as the beginning of the second novel Time of Contempt. After the first season established character backgrounds and some really convoluted timelines, the second season is a lot easier to follow with a more gripping and intense storyline.


'The Witcher' season 2: Bigger, better, grander

The first season of The Witcher introduced us to the sardonic, monster-hunting, silver-haired Geralt of Rivia whose quips and allure shouldered the entire season. The popular video game and book-based series worked as well as it did in the first season because it seemed like Netflix's response to the Game of Thrones universe. Besides, more medieval fantasy never hurts anyone, especially when it is combined with cheeky humor and over-the-top drama.

The first season's convoluted timelines and a mind-boggling assemblage of mythical creatures, characters, places, and histories required some getting used to. It resulted in The Witcher having its own hoard of explainer articles that you might want to keep handy going into the second season.

While Season 2 of The Witcher follows a straightforward timeline with an advancing plot, the series does not lose its complexity that drew in fans in the first place. The second season also sees character storylines and events coming together, albeit in a less confusing manner.

Overall, The Witcher might not have what it takes to rival the likes of Game of Thrones yet, but it has outdone itself, compared to the first installment.


What's new in 'The Witcher' season 2?

The Witcher's second season picks up after the devastation of the battle of Sodden Hill. Yennefer's brave sacrifice saved the Northern Kingdom from the army of Nilfgaard but eventually, the powerful mage was nowhere to be found and was presumed dead.

Meanwhile, Geralt finally met Cirilla in the forest, his Child Surprise and his destiny. While most of the previous season was spent awaiting Geralt and Cirilla's union, this season is rich with the father-daughter dynamic that is set to steal hearts.

Geralt, who has vowed to protect Cirilla, takes her to his home base, Kaer Morhen, where his fellow Witchers set up shop over the winter to rest and prepare for future bouts. At Kaer Morhen, the themes of family and parenthood are spotlighted with the blossoming dynamic between Geralt and Cirilla and that between Geralt and his father-figure Vesemir.

This season of The Witcher also elicits a new category of jokes and quips for Geralt, based on his experience fathering a wayward child.

Cirilla emerges as a scintillating and formidable hero this season as she lets go of her damsel-in-distress position and pieces together her real identity. Her journey as a charismatic warrior begins with her training sessions with Geralt and the other Witchers. Meanwhile, Yennefer's narrative isn't as impressive this season. The mage who lost her powers after the battle is now desperate and humiliated, two colors that do not look good on this sorceress.

Along with Yennefer's internal struggle with her identity and status, The Witcher season 2 also delves into other intense, existential narratives, giving depth to the characters. The ongoing exploration of Cirilla’s identity, Geralt’s approach to fatherhood, and the introduction of new faces along with the return of old ones in unanticipated roles makes for a great second season.

There are also unexpected allies being formed this season, which is a marvelous tactic for the show to maintain an exciting plot.


'The Witcher' season 2: Watch or skip?

Season 2 of The Witcher progresses with a momentum that won't let you stop pressing "next episode" until the very last one. With each episode, the plot thickens as more and more people are now after Cirilla, making it all the more challenging for Geralt to protect her.

Unlike the first season, this time around, Geralt is not just a monster-hunting beefcake, he is also a father with – believe it or not – emotions! But the series does keep its monster-hunting, video game action intact with better CGI, making the monsters look more real and dangerous.

While softening Geralt's edges might not have taken anything from the series, it did result in less humor and risqué elements, things that worked well for the first season. Jaskier the Bard, whose dynamic with Geralt brought in comedic relief earlier, is also mostly absent in this season.

Regardless, the second season is rife with various creatures, magical artifacts, and fascinating supernatural elements that will leave viewers wanting more. Fortunately, their wish has already been granted by Netflix as it renewed The Witcher for a third season in September 2021.

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Edited by Prem Deshpande
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